Internship at Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum – Week 3 (May 28, 2018 to June 2, 2018)

Much of this week was spent preparing for the open house and dedication ceremony that we are having here at the museum on Saturday, June 2.  In addition to my typical docent activities, I spent some time working with our Aircraft Restoration Team getting our newest acquisitions ready for the ceremony.  These new acquisitions are an F-15C Eagle and an F-16A Fighting Falcon (sometimes also referred to as a Viper).  Both aircraft were restored over the last month and a half, but the finishing touches were being added just before this weekend.

These finishing touches included decaling and adding munitions.  For the F-15C, we began by adding four AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles.  Each missile weighs around 200lbs., and it required three of us levering them into position on the launch rails under each wing.  These launch rails are positioned about 6 to 6 1/2 feet off the ground, so its not an easy task.

Later, we added four AIM-7F Sparrow missiles on the fuselage mounting stations.  These missiles are much larger than the AIM-9Ls, and they weigh a little over 500lbs each.  Lacking the proper loading equipment used by the Air Force, we made do with an engine hoist and some elbow grease to make things happen.  Both the F-15C and the F-16A were decaled in the markings for their respective units as well.

On Saturday, June 2, the dedication ceremony went off without a hitch with both aircrafts’ last pilots present at the ceremony.  Typically I don’t work on Saturdays, but this event was too important to miss.  Admission was free to the museum, and the number of attendees helped raise awareness and the profile of the museum as well as providing additional income in the form of increased gift shop sales and donations.  All and all, it was an eventful week.

Internship at Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum – Week 2 (21 May 2018 Thru 25 May 2018)

Week two of the internship at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum started a little different from the first week.  DJ Armstrong and I were tasked with performing some research on the museum’s collection of aircraft in order to ensure the accuracy of some new placards that were being made for the displays.  The first part of the research began with DJ and I physically climbing onto and into all of the aircraft at the museum in search of data plates to confirm a few things about each aircraft.

The data plates would confirm the aircraft type that it was purported to be.  For example, the museum’s F-104A Starfighter was actually a pre-production YF-104A Starfighter.  That may seem like a minor nomenclature distinction, but in reality, a YF-104A is a much rarer aircraft than the first regular production version F-104A.  The aircraft specifications needed to change just slightly to accurately reflect the corrected version of the aircraft at the museum.

Another aspect that the data plates would confirm were the aircraft’s serial number for Air Force aircraft or Bureau Number for Navy Aircraft.  These numbers are used to track the history of the aircraft through its respective service.  This tells us when and where the plane served, and whether or not it served in a war zone during its career.  The units that the aircraft served with help us to determine which paint and markings to restore the aircraft into for presentation in the museum.

DJ and I found that only 20% of the aircraft at the museum still had their factory data plates, so we were forced to refer to the museum’s data files to analyze the rest of the airframes’ history.  This was accomplished over three days, and we reviewed the material for spelling and grammatical errors as well.  Once complete, the Curator ordered the new placards for the aircraft, and once arrived, they will be em-placed on new stands for each aircraft at the museum.

During the research work for the placards, I was also tasked with my regular docent duties and giving tours.  Sometimes manning concerns would relegate me to running the gift shop on occasion, but this normally did not happen for more than a couple of hours or so.  Next week I look forward to doing some restoration work on the F-15 Eagle and/or the F-16 Fighting Falcon in preparation for the open house event that we will be holding on June 2nd.  The Open House will be on Saturday from 0800-1600.

Internship at Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum – Week 1 (14 May 2018 Thru 18 May 2018)

This week I started my Summer internship at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum located in Pueblo, Colorado.  The internship is for six credit hours, so I will have a significant investment in work at the museum this Summer.  It will take approximately 8 1/2 weeks to meet the minimum hourly requirements to satisfy the internship for six credit hours if I work Monday thru Friday from 1000-1600 daily.  There will be some additional days that I will work on the week-ends from time to time that will also go towards my hourly total as well.

This week began with a re-hash of most of the duties I performed when I volunteered at the museum as a docent prior to the internship.  I performed the opening and closing sequences of hangars one and two which includes turning on exhibit monitors and videos and unlocking doors before visitors arrive at the museum.  Once the museum opened, I introduced guests to the museum itself and provided an overview of the facility.  I give a brief history lesson about the Pueblo Army Air Base that existed at the location before the museum and the airport, and then I describe what each hangar contains and perform a quick safety briefing before releasing our guests to peruse the museum at their own pace.

I also acted as tour guide to several larger groups that visited the museum during the week.  I was assigned to hangar one which is primarily dedicated to World War II and earlier aircraft and displays.  I walked the groups to individual aircraft and displays, and then I provided a brief synopsis on the history and pertinent facts about the exhibit’s subject or aircraft.  Children ask a lot of questions, so I have to be prepared for the myriad of questions that come from them about the strangest of subjects.  Overall, it was an interesting week that allowed me to re-familiarize myself with the museum and get updated on new exhibits and aircraft.  I am told that there will be some research work and restoration work for next, so my duties will be expanded beyond the normal duties of a docent.

Work Continues on the Pueblo Army Air Base Scalar

After an eventful week, the group and I are now getting down to the end product of our Scalar.  The final product is due to our professor in Monday, April 30, so we are trying our best to polish the content in order to make what we have done look as professional as possible.  My work has centered on two main areas over the last two days.

The first area has been the chronology of the air base.  I thought that I was done with that particular page, but it turns out there were a couple of problems.  First, I put way too much information in there for a project of this scope.  My professor’s feedback was difficult to take after I had spent so many hours on the research for that particular part of the project, but I will concede that no everyone’s as much a nerd as I am about this stuff.  Therefore I have taken the digital scissors to it considerably, and I have trimmed it down to where it is about a tenth of what it used to be.  I have also expanded on the entries that remained in order to highlight the importance of them for the site’s visitors.

Secondly, I took all of the information I had collected in the chronology about aircraft accidents at PAAB and created a new page dedicated to just that aspect of PAAB’s history.  I felt that the high number of accidents and deaths should be memorialized and remembered, so why not create a separate page in the Scalar to commemorate their sacrifices?  I already had the research done, but it still took me quite a few hours to put together a decent page that coalesced the information into a readable page.  I also pulled in some images of crashed bombers to dress the page up a little, but not I could not find images that were directly associated with PAAB.  I substituted one just so viewers would get an idea of what I was writing about, and I made a notation on the photo that it was not an aircraft from PAAB.

Scalar Work Achieved

Over the course of this weekend, I was able to work a bit on the Scalar project about the Pueblo Army Air Base.  Each member of the group has selected certain pages/subjects of the project on which to concentrate, and two of mine are a chronology of the base and a page on the celebrities that visited the base when it was active during the Second World War.  The chronology was completed, and the celebrity page has been completed for the most part.

The chronology page is a chronological list of events that pertain to Pueblo Army Air Base from its creation in 1942 until its closure in 1947.  Major events are chronicled including arrival and departure of Commanding Officers, accidents and mishaps, major social events, and other major events like the switch from the B-24 as the base’s main training aircraft to the new B-29 in 1945.  This gives a line-by-line approximation of events that occurred during the base’s relatively short lifespan.

The celebrity page talks about visitations from famous celebrities to entertain the troops when the base was active during the Second World War.  Most of these entertainers and celebrities came to the base as part of the USO to help lift morale.  Most were famous actors and singers like Bing Crosby and Albert Dekker, but others were there as part of the training groups at PAAB like Clark Gable.  On the page itself, I provided a brief synopsis along with a little bit of information about what that celebrity would have been known for during the time of their visit.  I hope that viewers will find the information interesting.

Artifact Inspection and Media Acquired

Today DJ, Shannon, and I made another visit to the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.  This visit proved to be quite beneficial as we uncovered a virtual treasure trove of artifacts and media to use in our Scalar project about the Pueblo Army Air Base.  While there, we also performed some basic cleaning functions for the museum in a quid pro quo in exchange for them allowing us access to their unique displays and artifacts.

DJ and I methodically worked our way through the main display case that contained a myriad of photos, medals, I.D. cards, and other fascinating artifacts from the air base.  We removed each item from the case, and then we cleaned both the items and the case.  Once we were done photographing the artifacts we planned to use in our project, we replaced them all back in the case in the same respective places from which they had come.  In this way, we managed to both perform a service for the museum and obtain some needed media for the Scalar project.  I took around 27 photos, but I have to go through them to determine which are worth keeping and which should be discarded.

Shannon was able to rip a copy of a video about the Pueblo Army Air Base from one of the displays for use in our project.  When I say rip, I don’t mean physically, but rather he was able to copy the video from the DVD that the video was on to his computer.  We would obviously never damage any artifacts in any way.  We plan to feature this video on our Scalar, and I think we will be able to host it on youtube for the viewing pleasure of our site’s visitors.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday’s Museum Visit

On Thursday March 29, 2018. our group returned to the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum to gather more media for the Scalar project that we’re working on about the history of the Pueblo Army Air Base.  We had hoped to gain access to one of the glass cases that contained many photographs of the base and its personnel, but unfortunately neither the museum’s president or vice president were on the premises to provide that access.  The trip was not wasted, however, since we were able to gather other media from exhibits elsewhere in the museum.

One exhibit in particular that we wished to photograph was a model of Pueblo Army Air Base sometimes referred to as the “sand table”.  The table has a clear acrylic covering that makes photography difficult due to reflections from the overhead lights.  The four of us were able to remove the large acrylic cover, and this allowed a series of panoramic photos to be taken from overhead that should add nicely to our Scalar project.  Other photos were taken in the museum as well, and these will be uploaded to the Scalar’s media section to be peppered throughout the project as deemed appropriate.

Another visit to the aircraft museum is planned to gather the media from the display that we were unable to get on this occasion.  We have a deal in place with the museum staff that we will clean the inside of the case in exchange for access to the material.  This should prove mutually beneficial to both us and the museum, and we would like to thank the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and their staff for their assistance.  If it were not for them, this project would likely not be possible.

Difficulty with Scalar Sorted Out

We have been having difficulty getting everyone oriented on the same scalar page.  We each have our own page, but getting those pages to coordinate was not working.  Initially we decided to use Shanon Sinclair’s scalar for all of us to work on, but this proved difficult because of accessibility reason.  Shanon did not sign-up for scalar through Reclaim Hosting like the rest of us had, so for some reason it would not recognize the rest of us.  After working with the program for awhile, we were finally able to get everyone equal access to Michael Moore’s scalar found at www.emptythoughts.net.  Unfortunately, we had to re accomplish some of the work that had already been done on Shanon’s scalar, but now we are back on track.   I feel like this will make all future work we are doing on the Pueblo Army Air Base much simpler, and I will soon be adding my chronology to it as soon as it is done.

Starting Pueblo Army Air Base Chronology

I am starting a chronology of important events for our scalar project about the Pueblo Army Air Base.  It will not be an all inclusive chronology, but rather one that just focuses on key events that occur from the base’s start in 1942 until its end in 1946.  We have not determined yet if this will be its own page in the scalar or if it will be a sub-heading to another page.  I think it will be an important addition to the project either way.  I am using the electronic archives on loan to us from the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and Dr. Ray Sisson’s book that also timelines the base but in more detail than I intend.

Professor Rees is Introduced to the Project

Today we were able to bring Professor Rees to the Weisbrod Aircraft Museum to show him everything we had concerning our project. Prior to this, I think there was some misconceptions about whether or not our project was achievable, but I am glad to say that we have now won his support. We were able to show him the available media and the museum’s library which includes the electronic archives and paper archives of the unit’s newspapers and other information about the base. Together we decided to concentrate on the relationship that the base had with the surrounding community of Pueblo, Colorado. This narrows our project’s focus into an achievable arena, and it provides us with a specific direction in which to place our attentions when organizing our scalar.